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The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, said at a conference in Slovenia on Monday that employment prospects in Europe are “bleak” with countries facing “grim” conditions.
“In the first half of 2012, one out of every two Member States were either in economic stagnation or in recession, with unemployment up in most,” he said. The jobless rate in the EU stood at a depressing 10.3% in the first quarter of the year.
“40% of our jobless have been unemployed for over two years now. And more than half of the unemployed in some Member States have been out of a job for at least a year. Perhaps most depressing of all, unemployment among European young people stands at around 23%. That may have dramatic consequences for a whole generation,” said Mr Andor.
He stressed that the high amount of young people working on temporary contracts, in Slovenia in particular, is a “worrying feature” of the local labour market.
The Minister has therefore called for a “job-centred approach” to help Europe’s ailing economy and labour markets. He identified areas with the biggest job potential to be the green economy, health services and ICT.
“There should be no doubt that employment policy and all its institutions and actors – European and national – play a key role from both macroeconomic and microeconomic perspectives,” he said.
“Measures to boost labour demand may involve policy changes to introduce hiring subsidies for newly created jobs; a budget-neutral tax shift from labour to environmental tax, and greater support for business start-ups, self-employment and the social economy.”
This comes after the EU announced its “employment package” in April, which aims to boost jobs and limit non-standard contracts.